Dr. Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI
Develop a Thesis
1. List 3 - 5 issues in your research area that you feel strongly about.
2. Select one of these issues to work with. Write a thesis sentence that takes a position about this issue. For example, if your research topic were "What are the best pets for apartment-dwellers?" a thesis could be: "Cats are better pets than dogs for people who live in apartments."
3. List three main supports for your thesis.
4. List a warrant for each of your main supports. This will explain why your support does in fact support your thesis.
5. List at least one illustrative example for each of your main supports.
6. Write an outline for your argument paper that uses the above thesis/support/warrant structure. Review the Argument Page if you are not sure what these are.
Cats are Better than Dogs for Apartment Living
Some people prefer dogs, some prefer cats, and a few odd souls prefer pet toads. However, there is no question in my mind that, no matter how wonderful the occasional dog might be, cats are better pets than dogs for people who live in apartments. This is especially true for people who work all day long and can only tend to their pets’ needs in the mornings and evenings. My three main supports for the superiority of cats as apartment dwellers are: they do not need to be walked; they are small and live contentedly in small spaces; and they keep themselves clean. I shall illustrate each of these supports using real life examples based on experiences with Hecate the cat and Kylie the dog, who live with my son Eric in his apartment.
Cats do not need to be walked on cold dark nasty nights, while dogs must be walked whatever the weather. We had a hurricane last week, and Eric’s dog Kylie had to go out for a “walk” (which is just an euphemism for a bathroom break) at eleven at night, as the eye of hurricane Isabel was coming to town. Of course Hecate, having the good sense of all cats, was content to stay home and warm and if need be use the litter box. Eric got very wet and did not enjoy himself at all. Kylie got very wet, but enjoyed herself and made a huge wet mess on the floor when she shook herself dry in the livingroom. Hecate stayed dry. If Eric had lived in a house with a fenced yard, he could have just let Kylie out and stayed warm and dry himself, but since he lived in an apartment, he had to go out with his dog. Thus, it is demonstrably easier to live with a cat in all weather and at night if one lives in an apartment, while a dog would be ok for a person who has a fenced yard (“What good is a yard?”).
Then there is the matter of exercise (as opposed to the “walks,” which are really bathroom breaks). Kylie is an energetic young dog. She’s part Australian Shepherd and part Rottweiler, and all eager wriggles and love of physical activity and play. Kylie gets three walks a day, plus a couple of hours per day at the dog park where she races around like mad with other dogs. That’s fine in the summer, when the dog park is open in the evenings, but in the winter, Eric will get home after dark and the dog park closes at dark. That means much longer walks just as the weather gets worse.
Hecate, on the other hand, naps on top of Kylie’s crate for most of the day (while Kylie naps inside, door open). This is Hecate's idea of good company (“Cats are Superior,” 25). On a lovely afternoon, Hecate will stroll along with Eric and Kylie down the path, but she’s perfectly happy to stay home, too. Of course, if Eric had a fenced yard, he could just let Kylie run around there much of the day, but because they live in an apartment, wherever Kylie goes, Eric goes. Clearly, from a cat’s point of view, apartment living is just fine; this is not true for a dog.
My final point is the matter of cleanliness. When I was a child in Los Angeles, dogs lived outside and came to the house for some food and play, but they did not LIVE in the house. Consequently, cleanliness was not very relevant to dogginess. However, Eric lives in a small apartment. Kylie, a sociable and happy dog, is fascinated by the leavings of other dogs, cheerfully rolls in dirt and dung, and generally makes a charming, smelly mess of herself. However, Kylie does NOT like to take a bath. Thus, Eric gets to choose between living in an apartment that reeks of stinky puppy, or struggling with Kylie (who is not a water loving dog) as he tries to give her a bath in his small bathroom. Sometimes she breaks loose and scatters soapy water on the living room rug. A bigger bathroom might or might not help, but a fenced yard and a hose would make life easier for Eric (“Wash that pup!” 5-6). Unfortunately, professional dog-bathing is too expensive, so that is not an option. Meanwhile, Hecate sits on top of Kylie’s crate and grooms herself neatly.
In conclusion, although Eric adores Kylie and enjoys the social opportunities they both have at the dog park and while walking on the many paths in Reston, it is much easier for him to deal with Hecate in his apartment, and she is better suited to apartment life than Kylie.
“Cats are superior...” Cat Courier, April 1, 2003:
[information on how cats keep themselves clean and are happy all day by
“Wash that pup!” Dog Daze, June, 2002: 5-6. [information on how to keep your messy puppy clean with shampoo and a hose]
“What good is a yard?” Washington Pooch, April 1, 2003, A24. [information on how dogs use yards for running and pooping]
Now you are ready to develop your own argument outline. Go to: Blackboard, "Unit 4, Task 5," fill out the worksheet you find there, and post it to the forum.
(c) Diane Thompson: 08/21/2006